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Online teaching to continue all spring at Örebro University

The sun is making an appearance between Örebro University’s white buildings. In the foreground is the Nova building, with a large Örebro University sign on the façade.

Students at Örebro University will receive instruction via the computer for a while longer. The period during which remote online teaching is the principal rule is extended until the summer to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Remote online teaching at Örebro University will continue throughout the spring semester.
“We so want to welcome our students back to campus. But given the coronavirus developments, it is unlikely that we will be able to do so this semester,” says Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer.

FACTS: Remote online teaching at Örebro University – a timeline

On 13 March 2020, the vice-chancellor issued a strong recommendation for Örebro University to shift to remote online teaching and assessment. The following week, this had become the principal rule for all teaching activities. At that point, many other new corona provisions had already been introduced, such as a ban of international business travel and quarantine in the home for staff who had been abroad.

After a slowdown in virus transmission during the summer, a gradual re-opening of campus took place at the start of the autumn semester 2020. New students were top priority for on-campus teaching, while many others had to continue to pursue their education remotely and online to prevent crowding.

When a rapid spread of the coronavirus was detected in the Örebro area in November, special local restrictions were issued. A decision was then made for an immediate shift back to remote online teaching as the principal rule. The validity of that decision has since been extended and it now applies throughout the spring semester 2021.

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Lecture halls at Örebro University have been deserted since November last year.

Instead, teaching has – with a few exceptions – gone into remote online mode.

The validity of the previous decision to conduct teaching online until 28 March is now extended. The spread of COVID-19 has not slowed down in a way that would allow us to return to campus.

“We can’t see that the vaccine will actually be available to our students in the coming months. So, we have to do our part and continue with most of our teaching online. We do not want to contribute to further spread of the virus,” says Johan Schnürer.

15,000 students affected

The decision affects the 15,000 students and many of our 1,500 staff at Örebro University. It was taken following consultation with heads of school, deans, and the university’s central crisis management team, where among others Örebro Student Union is represented.

“We are prepared for a re-opening of campus at relatively short notice. But given the situation, online teaching will continue to be the norm for a while yet,” says Johan Schnürer.

Like before, exceptions may be made from the principal rule of remote online teaching and assessment.

Safety measures to be taken

Some teaching, such as elements requiring access to a laboratory, can be conducted on campus with special permission from the head of school.  Examinations may in exceptional cases also be conducted onsite. These include artistic examinations, laboratory work or exams that need to take place on campus to ensure legal certainty. For all such exceptions, special safety measures must be taken to prevent transmission of the virus. For example, moderated exams in exam halls, are now organised in a completely different way than they were a year ago.

The new decision that online teaching is to continue to the greatest possible extent is valid until 6 June 2021, unless virus transmission would slow significantly.

“Naturally, we regret that we need to take this decision. Many of us look back at what we had a year ago – a vibrant campus full of life. At the same time, it gives our students and faculty the time and possibility to plan the rest of the semester,” says Johan Schnürer.


Text and photo: Jesper Mattsson

Translation: Charlotta Hambre-Knight